Ramblings of a tired mom

Living on Guam has it's challenges. Add in 5 children, homeschooling and your own business and you'll find me rambling nonsense interspersed with some wisdom. Enjoy!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Letter

Ah...it's that time of the year again to write the ever popular "Christmas Letter". I really had big plans this year to send out homemade Christmas cards (even spent a wonderful evening making several of these masterpieces), taking a family picture and including this in the card and sending them all out by December 15th! Alas, it's now December 23rd....homemade cards are still in the works...picture hasn't been taken and I have no desire to face the crowd at the post office to figure out postage to Canada!

So here we are doing the Christmas letter via blog this year! The good thing is that I don't have to write too much here as you all can just read the rest of the blog to get an idea of what it is we do here on this island we've come to call home.

But since I haven't been that great at blogging I'll fill in some more details here.

This past year has been one full of changes and expansions. I battled depression during the first months of the year over the loss of our baby girl Maggie, on November 1st, 2005. (Her birth story can be read at http://tropicalmom.zoomshare.com/2.shtml )But life goes on and we will always remember little Maggie in our hearts. To keep busy I continued to lead the Guam Homeschooler Association, but passed the leadership on this past August. I am still the webmistress for the group and maintain our yahoogroup email list.

Les was the acting Chaplain for GICA (Guam International Christian Academy) and taught the high school bible class for the 2005/2006 school year. Beginning in August both Les and I volunteer our time at GICA teaching various high school classes. Les teaches the 12th grade bible and Guam History class and I teach a combined 9/10 bible class and the 11/12th grade English class. I've enjoyed introducing the young people to such classics as Animal Farm and Shakespeare's Macbeth. Sometimes I feel I get more out of the class than the students do! We teach until around 10:30am and then head on over to open up our driving school for the rest of the day. The kids join us at the driving school. We have also expanded our business and opened another classroom in Yigo, where we teach two nights a week. We have hired a wonderful teacher from JFK high school to help us at our Yigo office. Adam and Stephanie have been great helpers this year working at Yigo as well.

Eric is thriving in his learning and has become quite knowledgeable in all things Tiger. He can tell you how big a Bengal Tiger is, what it eats and where it lives. He continues to draw and illustrate elaborate cartoons about tigers, foxes and chickens. (I'll bet you didn't know that these three creatures could live in harmony?).

Stephanie continues to excel in her piano lessons. She is growing into a beautiful and sensitive young lady. She is currently on her 4th or 5th chapter of a story she is writing. She has learned to cross stitch, sharing another of my passions and prompting me to work on some old projects this past month. Someday I'll actually get one finished!

Cassandra has become her own person and no longer is just a shadow of Eric. She loves to draw and is showing an interest in learning to read, so that will be our focus for this new year. She fluctuates between being our princess and a tomboy, depending on her mood of the day.

Adam will hopefully be able to get his driving license next year if all goes well at the passport office. We applied this month for passports for both Stephanie and Adam, based on their father being a US Citizen. We had a wonderful Christian woman helping us with this and it is just up to head office in Hawaii to approve the applications. Pray with us that this works as it will solve the immigration limbo these two Canadian born children have been in for us.

Kevin leaves for basic training in Texas on January 23rd. He is anxious to begin his new career in the Air Force. In the meantime he helps us with transportation and basic errands for our driving school.

Our household menagerie has changed and expanded to include 12 cats (including the strays that have adopted us), one guinea pig named Phillip, 3 finches (last week it was 4 but the cat got one...), and a hamster. Having an office above a Pet store has influenced us just a tad....

Our biggest change this year has to be the move to the beach house in Anigua. We are so enjoying living on the beach and being able to take walks in the evenings, enjoying our own private beach and having frontline access to the liberation day parade and firework displays.

I guess this is all for this year's letter. If I get that picture taken in the next two days I'll post it here.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all from the Smiths on Guam!

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